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Forming Volunteer Systems

by Katie Grills, Community Relations VISTA

It starts with a simple phone call or email.

TAP Volunteer Annie Hsu (left) and Katie Grills, TAP' AmeriCorps VISTA (right)

I might be calling a reliable volunteer to help out with a data entry project, or I might ask a local business owner if they would like to donate a gift card to acknowledge a volunteer’s dedicated service. Sometimes that contact leads to hearing “yes, I would love to help you.” Other times I am not as lucky. I track these contacts in spreadsheets, email, and in SalesForce, our data tracking system. I log the volunteer hours, keep records of in-kind donations, and send thank you letters.

Whether I am planning a large community event like Theatre Action Project at the Zilker Park Kite Festival  or simply seeking out a volunteer to help us organize our classroom supplies, I strive to keep best practices in mind like the ones listed above.

Best practices are guidelines that employees in various fields strive to apply to their everyday business lives. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, I am attempting to form volunteer systems for that work for creative minds while keeping abreast of the standards that other successful organizations practice. Serving an arts-centered organization presents its own unique set of tracking and acknowledgement challenges. Arts administration industry standards are a great starting point, though, and it is my goal to embed these practices into the systems I am developing.

As I start into the second half of my year of service with TAP, I’m proud to say that we’re well on our way to having these systems in place.

P.S.: I am in love with fashion blogger Gabi Fresh big curls. I hope to see you at TAP’s Big Hair Country Fair on March 24th. It will be a fun night benefiting Theatre Action Project. For tickets, visit: TAP Big Hair.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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